A new study suggests at only one month old, infants show signs of temperament troubles that can turn into mood and behavior problems later in life.
Researchers say that infants who are fussy when they're 3 or 4 weeks old are more likely to develop childhood mental health problems like anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and behavior problems.
While previous studies have suggested that childhood temperament is associated with later-life problems, the link has never been shown in children so young.
These findings suggest that infants might be screened early on, to identify those at risk for later psychiatric problems. Once identified, the children could be monitored closely and given the support they need to help prevent such problems from developing.
Researcher Allison Momany, and undergraduate student at University of Iowa says, "I don't think it means every baby that cries a lot is going to have problems." Momany noted the waya mother responds to her child may play a role in modifying his or her mental health. Studies have shown when mother rats like their pups, the action turn on certain genes in the pups that may help them make a secure connection with the mom.